Friday, September 10, 2010

Labeled baggies first, world peace second

One step at a time, all politics is local, change begins here, and every other saying you've heard a thousand times. Cliched but true. When life begins to feel a little unwieldy for me, I like to create order in small corners.

I am not by nature an orderly person. I like clutter. I like the charm of a messy bookcase, the eclectic look of a tabletop with mismatched objects on top of it, the little bits of life that make a room mine instead of a design spread. 

Yet under the sink, inside the closet, on the shelf... that's where my love of clutter is my Achilles heel. Feeding this problem is an ongoing stream of stuff. In the bathroom, "stuff" involves my addiction to Sephora samples and travel-sized toiletry items. This sounds absurd, I know, but somewhere along the way, my disdain for TSA regulations and my love of free! you only have to spend XYZ in product! goodies has turned my entire bathroom into a bargain basement of high-end cosmetics. The nutty part about this little problem of mine is that I have a "Sephora Beauty Bank" balance of over 1,000 points. This means nearly every time I shop, I'm turning up my nose at the lame samples they're giving away for 100 points each and holding out for something I really want. As if some higher power is some day going to reward my frugality with my Sephora Beauty Bank in lieu of chastising me for the pricey skincare habits that enabled such a Beauty Bank in the first place.

Yet as I've made my bed and all, I should be smugly pleased with my well-edited collection of products, right? Wrong.

My mountain of expensive creams individually packaged in foil and stolen relics from hotel rooms of trips past is a constant source of annoyance. It annoys me when I'm tired of my regular eye cream and just know I have fun samples of new stuff somewhere, but can't locate them. It annoys me when T and I are racing out the door for the airport, and although we open our bathroom closet and tiny bottles of liquids fall to the floor, we still can't seem to find a single shampoo. If I'm going to own a mountain of product, after all, I can't let the mountain own me.

So today, during a weird day at the end of a weird week when I haven't been feeling particularly full of direction or purpose, I breezed past the sink of dirty dishes and piles of dirty laundry and thought, "This is the moment I've been waiting for. This is the day I will climb the mountain of yuppie skincare products."

Oh, the drama.

I actually began with makeup, for kicks. I threw out three big handfuls of old glop, including the ubiquitous Clinique Black Honey, which I do not recommend owning in gloss form, a navy blue mascara that I thought was so cutting edge when I wore it to a wedding ten years ago, and a lavender sparkly gloss that represented an entire period of lavender sparkly glosses I'm glad is over and done. 

Then, the real deal. There was sorting and labeling and ooh! I didn't know I had this! and wow! I'll really use this now!. The collection of tiny items, probably worth an absurd amount in retail value:

And now, this great oilcloth case of mine, previously full of piles of leaking bottles, is an adorable filing cabinet:

But what about harried traveler syndrome, you ask? Please see these freezer bags bursting with Body Wash & Lotion and Shampoo & Conditioner.

But the other random travel-sized stuff that we all need from time to time, what about that?

Everything lines up so nicely on half of a bathroom shelf. I now have an entire shelf that's bare, plus clean drawers, and tons of room underneath the sink. It's a tad shocking. But oh! I forgot one thing. My well-groomed partner-in-crime, who travels for work a few times a month and has to put up with his tiny things getting mixed into the quicksand of all my tiny things.

Exhale... there are real estate questions and job questions and life questions, but there is also a bag labeled "Masks, Scrubs, and Serums," and damn if that doesn't make me feel a little more capable of tackling the bigger things in life.

Now, to address that addiction to Ziplocs...


  1. Wanna come do this at my house? Free wine?

  2. I think we are psychic twins! I finally imposed order on the over-the-counter remedy chaos in my bathroom closet by picking up a few stacks of plastic drawers, which I labeled according to malady. There's a drawer for Headaches, one for Cough / Cold / Allergy, one for Bellyaches, etc. (There's also a drawer called Ointments Galore for the sake of decorum.) Small victories... :-)

  3. oh i do this too! if i'm upset about something, watch out cabinet o' tupperware! i think it's a control thing.

  4. I did this not along ago, but using old free gift makeup bags instead of ziplocs. It makes me happy to look at them.

  5. I have the same problems... hoarding Sephora points AND free samples. Right now mine are half-organized. I have the body wash and shampoo and conditioner bags done and ready for travel, but all my other samples are shoved in a shoe box in the back of the linen closet. I think I see an organization project in my future.

  6. Oh Maggie! That? That is a thing of beauty. My wee ickle OCD heart is full. Although I'm a touch peeved because Sephora never gives me samples. Ever. But the annoyance falls into the background when faced with perfectly. labeled. bags.

  7. Love this idea. I have actually been looking for ways to get all my bath and beauty products organized. Totally using some of your tips, thanks for sharing!

  8. Reading this makes me want to go organize my bathroom right now! I try to go through everything and throw out stuff once every 3-4 months so it doesn't get too overwhelming.

  9. Maybe you should just come unpack my bathroom for me? Shopping bags of crap are staring at me everytime I look under my sink. I want a makeup filing cabinet!

  10. Maggie! I have like 1800 Sephora points, and two Container Store bins full of sample-sized travel toiletries in Ziploc bags labeled things like "Body wash" and "Single-application sizes." I did not even know this was a psychological condition.


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